Hulu Beta Testing

December 31, 2007 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Media, Online, Social Networking, Technology, Videos

Hulu.com icon logoIn a largely speculative post last month, I wondered about the possibilities of Hulu, News Corp’s new online video venture.

Since then I’ve received my beta testing login details. With a great deal of excitement I went to Hulu.com to see what fantastic wonders would be presented to me.

None. If you’re in Australia, bad luck – it’s a case of look, but don’t touch.

For now, Hulu is a U.S. service only. That said, our intention is to make Hulu’s growing content lineup available worldwide. This requires clearing the rights for each show or film in each specific geography and will take time.

Being limited to North America because of distribution rights, international users are agonisingly teased by a long list of currently popular TV shows they can’t watch – Arrested Development, Family Guy, Scrubs, King of The Hill, My Name is Earl, The Office… the list goes on, and unless you have a beta login to Hulu (get on the waiting list) none of those links will get you anywhere.

With a login, choosing any episode from one of those shows takes you to the video player screen, right to the excited point of ‘Loading Video’ before slapping you in the face – rejection.

Hulu.com screen grab - Unfortunately this video is not currently available in your country or region. We apologize for the inconvenience.
But I want to take advantage of the options alongside the video player – share, embed, watch it full screen! Hopefully it’s not too long before something is up and running for Australia.

In a desperate attempt to see the video player in action, I tried some older shows in the hope they were no longer affected by distribution rights. Thankfully, even Doogie Howser episodes (Breaking Up is Hard to Doogie) from 1989 were unavailable.

ABC Now

In a continuing push to break new ground in digital media, ABC (Australia) has released ABC Now, a desktop media player for select ABC digital content.

The potential of this application is huge. When I read the description of what it would do, I couldn’t wait to try it. Unfortunately the interface isn’t entirely user-friendly at the moment, but it’s in beta, so expect something great to come.

For what is obviously planned for this media player the ABC is again demonstrating why Australians go to them for original online audio and video content – because they try to make it easily accessible.

Often they succeed in the attempt, and that’s why their podcasts and vodcasts have enjoyed such popularity. ABC digital content has succeeded because it is available. If there’s not much to choose from, people move on. The ABC’s integration online of text, audio and video content is impressive, to say the least.

If you haven’t seen it, check out an example of their in-page video player on this story.

Mobile Journalism Toolkit

December 22, 2007 by  
Filed under Journalists, Media, Online, Technology

Reuters Mobile Journalism MOJO

Incredibly simple, but effective.

The Reuters mojo (Mobile Journalism) team has been field-testing the exclusive use of a Nokia N95 mobile phone for filing picture, video, and text content.

Tests have been conducted all over the world, and while the phone’s video quality isn’t great, it’s certainly a lot closer to the perfect mobile journalist than anyone else has effectively come.

See their mojo site, but the toolkit consists of the N95 phone, a collapsable keyboard with phone bracket, mini tripod for video use of phone, directional microphone and a solar charging mobile power source for the phone.

The solar power source is probably not necessary for your average city journo, but as their description says, the solar charger came in handy in Senegal. Fair enough.

Despite the 5MP still camera on the N95, I don’t think its video quality is equal to what you could expect from a comparable still camera. I’ve seen some excellent video taken on a lower-end consumer point-and-shoot digital camera (a $300 Canon Powershot SD800 IS)